August 18, 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte’s weeklong absence from the public eye had nothing to do with his health condition, Malacañang assured the public on Saturday.
Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo made the assurance after Duterte, known for his hectic schedule, has not had a public engagement since August 9.
In an interview, Panelo, who also serves as Duterte’s top legal counsel, denied rumors that the President was in a hospital.
“Basta naririnig niyo pang nagpu-p****g-i*a, okay na okay pa… Kausap ko lang. Malakas pa sa akin iyon eh (If you hear him cursing, he’s really okay… I just talked to him. He’s stronger than me),” he told reporters.
The Palace official said Duterte had not been visible to the public this week because he was busy with private meetings and paperwork. He said the President would resume his public engagements next week.
“He (Duterte) is always okay. He will be the first one to tell us if he is not,” the Palace official added.
The President’s last public activity was attending the 118th Police Service anniversary celebration in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Friday last week.
Rumors about the 74-year-old President visiting or being confined in a hospital have persisted since 2018.
In October 2018, Duterte admitted that he had a checkup at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center.
The President had said he would inform the people if he had a serious illness.
“I don’t know where, I’m now physically. But I will tell you if it’s cancer, it’s cancer,” he earlier said.
“If it’s third stage, no more treatment. I will not prolong the agony in this office or anywhere,” he added.
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